By Cody Perez
June 30, 2019
Like them or not, free to play games make the world go ‘round. These are games that are known for their accessibility for gamers around the world. Don’t have $60 to spend on the next big-budget video game? Have only a few minutes to check out something cool but don’t want a huge commitment?
Those are just some of the reasons why free to play games have thrived for so long now and will likely continue to be a massive part of the video game industry as a whole. There’s a reason that games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and PUBG mobile continue to be some of the biggest games in the world.
I’ve set out to compile a list of the best free to play games that money doesn’t have to buy. If you’re looking for something new to play right now, look no further than this list. You might be wondering, though, why are free games even worth a list?
Well, if you didn’t know, free games are quite easily some of the biggest games on this planet right now. Their influence and success are what’s currently shaping the industry. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of them are hot garbage, and that’s no overstatement.v
If you were to take a look through the Google Play and iOS App Store right now on your mobile device, you would be sure to find game after game that is quite simply a waste of your precious time, which, in some cases, is certainly worth more than money is.
The saddest thing is that this also extends to PC and even console games as well. Steam, for instance, is just as bad as mobile devices when it comes to terrible free games. With more free games showing up on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, it’s even becoming like that on those systems, too.
This list is meant to give you the 10 best free to play games that you don’t have to worry about wasting your time. Even if they’re not your cup of tea gameplay-wise, there’s no doubting the quality of each of these games.
For the purposes of this list, I am judging these games primarily on fun factor, quality of the game, whether or not it’s viable to play without spending a dime, and so on. Popularity does factor a bit into my list, but it isn’t nearly as important as the other factors I mentioned.
Without further ado, here are the best free to play games you need to know about.
To kick this list off is a game that isn’t technically free to play, so you might be wondering why it’s here. Well, Final Fantasy XIV does allow you to play a free version of it on both PC and PS4. This version of the game allows you to play through up to level 35 of the 80 levels in the latest expansion Shadowbringers.
While that might sound like a lame way to play through only not even half of the levels available in the game, it’s surprisingly deep. For one, Final Fantasy XIV allows you to play every single class and job in the base game up to level 35 on the same character, all for free.
That means you get to run around healing your party members in dungeons as the White Mage, then turn around and tank as the Paladin, or just deal damage. If you want, you can just spend time gathering materials and crafting gear in the hub cities.
The possibilities are endless for a version of the game that is totally free. But because the whole game isn’t free, it comes in at the top of this list.
Dauntless is the latest addition to this list of best free to play games. Since it is the new kid on the block, it has a lot of potential but a lot of issues that need to be fixed as well. This game is like a free Monster Hunter game where you and other players can team up together to take down massive beasts.
Dauntless allows you to take on dozens of different behemoth monsters, each with their own unique element and abilities. For example, one beast might be an electric elemental beast that shoots electric area of effect orbs that you must dodge while still dealing damage.
Damaging monsters in certain ways can give you materials that you can use in the hub town to create armor and weapons to then go out and more efficiently take out behemoths. It has an addicting gameplay loop that doesn’t require you to spend a penny on it.
Warframe is a sci-fi hack and slash game where you play a cyber ninja who can use magical abilities and guns in addition to high-tech swords. If that doesn’t sound awesome already, then you might need to re-read that sentence.
In Warframe, you customize and create a ninja warrior with a wide variety of weapons and abilities to choose from. This game moves as fast or as slow as you want it to. You can sneak around, assassinating enemies as you go, or move lightning fast through a level and beat it in literally seconds.
You can travel through worlds and explore different large levels as you go through the interesting story and gather materials. It’s a deep and complex game, and it can be daunting for some players. Since it isn’t the most accessible game on this list, it comes in at number eight.
Trading card games have been experiencing a renaissance of sorts in the last year or two. There are so many card games that are popping up in the real world and in the digital one. Of those card games, though, the best is easily Hearthstone.
Hearthstone allows you to play through a card game that is simple to grasp for anyone but difficult to master. Though it is free to play, it isn’t the cheapest game to play on this list. You can absolutely enjoy yourself with the free decks that are available, but you won’t get far without buying some cards.
Despite this, Hearthstone remains a top-tier free game that is a joy to play against the computer as well as online. The gameplay is similar to Magic: The Gathering but streamlined to work both on mobile and on computers. The presentation is fantastic, too, offering that signature Blizzard quality.
For many gamers like myself, RuneScape was the introduction to both free games and MMORPGs. It has been a steady free offering that offers a lot of content for even the free players. Unlike Final Fantasy XIV, you can enjoy the entirety of the game minus a couple of areas and classes without paying anything.
But like FFXIV, all you need is one character to use all of the skills available to you. You can spend hours making fires and cooking food, something that is more fun than it sounds. Or you can go around the wilderness and prey on noobs to kill and take their gear.
For many players, though, they just roleplay and have a good time living within the fantasy world. Though its graphics aren’t the greatest, RuneScape will continue to remain as one of the best free to play games. Now that it’s on mobile, too, you can even check it out from your mobile device.
Paladins takes the tried and true Overwatch formula and makes it free to play. It is a first- and third-person competitive shooter with artsy graphics where you select between dozens of different heroes to play as.
Each of the various heroes within Paladins has a different role they fulfill from support to damage and so on. Even within the same roles, different heroes feel unique to play with their own specific skills. There is a good mix of modes from normal deathmatch to escorting an objective to the enemy base.
If you’re a fan of Overwatch, you will feel right at home with Paladins. However, unlike it, you don’t have to purchase it to play. Better yet, it’s available on Nintendo Switch, in addition to PC, PS4, and Xbox One, making it even more available to players than Overwatch is and all for free.
From the same developer as Paladins, Smite is its take on the MOBA genre. Like the previous entry on this list, it is totally free to play with the option to purchase all players at once. Smite is by far the most accessible MOBA game ever, allowing anyone on console or PC to check it out.
Unlike other MOBA games that take place from a top-down perspective, Smite is playable from a behind-the-shoulder third-person view that will be familiar to gamers who have played just about any title. A camera change alone makes it feel more dynamic, faster, and more interesting than other MOBA games.
However, the depth that veteran MOBA players expect is here, too. There are ranked play and esports that allow you to go as far as you want in the competitive scene without keeping newcomers from being able to learn what this sort of game is all about.
When it comes to completely free MMORPGs, no game does it better than Star Wars: The Old Republic. Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, this is a massive world worth delving into. There are tons of planets to explore in the galaxy, each one filled with places to discover, stories to enjoy, and hidden secrets.
The Old Republic takes place thousands of years before the movies that are known around the world, in a time when Jedi and Sith are at their peak. You pick a side between the two forces, along with which class you wish to play.
Though it doesn’t offer the same flexibility as previous entries on this list, it offers engaging stories in exchange. Each of the classes has its own unique storyline that is long and of the utmost BioWare quality with voice acting and the like. If you’re looking for a rich game with thousands of hours of gameplay offered all for free, look no further.
League of Legends revolutionized the MOBA genre, turning it into one of the most important video game genres in the industry. Not only that, but the game itself is one of the largest games in the world with an immense following and one of the best esports scenes around.
Even though it has accomplished so much, it still remains one of the best free to play games ever created. Though it isn’t as accessible as Smite, there’s no denying the impact it’s had on the world of video games. If you’re looking for a strategic game to sink your teeth into, this is the one for you.
Each legend within the game is crafted with its own personality and detail. No two characters play the same, and it takes a long time to recognize all of them. League of Legends remains a fresh game even today, one that is always expanding and offering something worthwhile to players.
There really is no game that can be at the top of my best free to play games list other than Fortnite. Where League of Legends changed the video game industry, Fortnite has changed the world. It is a global phenomenon that can’t be stopped.
Though it didn’t invent the battle royale genre, it took the genre to new heights that still haven’t been topped by any other game yet. The premise is simple enough: 100 players or duos or squads jump onto an island and fight until the last one is standing.
Yet developer Epic Games has taken that initial premise and created a social space that is always changing and surprising players. One week, a live concert might be held for one time only whereas another week, the Avengers might show up in the game and let you play as them for a limited time.
The best part? All of this is free to experience without spending anything. Not only is the game continuously offering something new to check out for free, but its monetization system is one of the best, too.
You only have to spend money if you want to equip the latest skin or emote; you don’t have to pay anything to enjoy what’s featured in battle royale. Because it’s also available on every modern platform from mobile to PC to console, there is no doubt that this is the best free to play game out right now.